Uh oh. You saw an Audi with a big wing and called it an S1E2, didn’t you? This is a common mix up, so read on for enlightenment…
Hang on, there are a ton of pages on the internet that all say “S1E2”, are you telling me they are all wrong?
Unfortunately the incorrect designation has been quoted and printed so many times now, most have accepted it as fact. Not convinced? Well click here…
…for the full story on the origins of the error and all the facts.
Thanks, but I haven’t got time to read all that. Make it simple for me.
OK, well this is an Audi Sport quattro...
...this was the base model, which was made available to the public through Audi dealerships. With 200 of these in existence the Sport quattro was eligible for Group B and, as per the regulations, Audi were then allowed to develop 20 evolution models for motorsport. This first motorsport evolution model was designated the Audi Sport quattro S1...
...and was homologated in May 1984. Audi Sport quattro S1 is the identity of the car as it appears on those homologation forms.
At the end of 1984 a new FISA ruling meant that all further evolution models had to be identified by the letter "E". Thus, where the second evolution of the Audi Sport quattro would have been the Audi Sport quattro S2, it instead became the Audi Sport quattro E2...
...the term "S1E2" is incorrect as it is in direct contradiction to the FISA regulations of the era, plus it doesn't follow with the Audi system for classification of rally cars (consider the designations that Audi used for the evolutions of the original Group 4 UR quattro. I.e. “A1” and “A2”).
Other than the aerodynamics, the E2 was a different car under the skin: the engine was revised and the drivetrain (including the gearbox) had been altered, so it's a very different car to the S1.
Uh oh. You saw a classic Impreza with wide arches and called it a 22B, didn’t you? This is a common mix up, read on for enlightenment…
OK smart arse, if it’s not a 22B, then what is it?
Prodrive used "S" prefixed numbers to designate the various generations of Impreza World Rally Car they built. The 1997-1999 World Rally Car was the S5 and they continued from there. The full list per year is:
WRC97/WRC98/WRC99 - Impreza S5 WRC (the '98 and '99 cars had some improvements over their predecessors, but Prodrive retained the same S5 designation for all three years)
WRC2000 - Impreza S6 WRC (also known as the P2000)
WRC2001 - Impreza S7 WRC
WRC2002 - Impreza S8 WRC
WRC2003 - Impreza S9 WRC
WRC2004 - Impreza S10 WRC
WRC2005 - Impreza S11 WRC
WRC2006 - Impreza S12 WRC
WRC2007 - Impreza S12b WRC
WRC2008 - Impreza S14 WRC
So, depending on the particular year of "classic" shape Impreza you are looking at, it’s either an S5 Impreza WRC or S6 Impreza WRC.
Got it. Got any more useless Prodrive/Impreza naming facts?
Prodrive also used a similar system for their Group N cars, except these are identified by an "N" prefix, not an "S".
The only exception to the rule is the 2007 Impreza WRC, which was identified as the S12b WRC (rather than S13 as you would expect). The Japanese are a superstitious bunch and so Prodrive avoided the number with their car designation!
There is also an interesting anomaly late in the history of SWRT as, when the S14 wasn't ready in time, they put an S14 engine into an S12b chassis: that car (KT57 SRT) became a one off S12c.
That’s all great, but where does the 22B fit in?
The 22B was a road car released in 1998 and designed to emulate the look of the 1997/1998 Impreza World Rally Car. The two door, wide arch, Impreza World Rally Cars were on stages for well over a year before the 22B hit showrooms and its name is actually homage to the rally car: "22B" is hexdecimal for "555".
There is a lot of confusion between the 22B and the World Rally Cars of the era. This is compounded by the fact that there are a huge number of online articles about the 22B that contain incorrect information.
Officially there were 424 22B's (400 for the JDM, 24 for export). Of the 24 export cars, 16 were for the UK, 5 for Australia and 3 were prototypes. As with a lot of Subaru limited edition runs though, some of the numbers are a little hazy. It was originally stated that there were three #000 prototype cars (which were given to Colin McRae, Nicky Grist and David Lapworth), however a #000 was recently identified in the STI Mitaka showroom, which implies there were four #000 cars (I have subsequently read that David Lapworth actually got #400, but that's not been verified).
But they look pretty similar. How can you be so sure that’s not a privateer with a 22B on the rally stage?
Well first up – and as mentioned above – the 22B was a limited edition road car, so only a loon would risk bending one on a rally stage.
Critically though, the 22B was fitted with a 2.2L engine: WRC regulations of the era limited turbo cars to 2.0L so, by its very nature, the 22B couldn't be a rally car. Incidentally, although they look similar, the S5 WRC and 22B have different panels. If you look at the two side-by-side you can see it, it's most noticeable around the front end and rear arches.
That Impreza WRCar list you posted starts at S5: what happened to S1, S2, S3 and S4?
Good question. Prodrive applied an "S" designation to their earlier Subaru rally programs:
S1 - Group A Legacy
S2 - Group N Legacy
S3 - Group A Impreza.
Considering that each of these individual cars had the same "S" number for their entire lifespan, it kind of makes sense that Prodrive applied S5 to the WRC97, WRC98 and WRC99 as each were minor evolutions of the original World Rally Car design, where the WRC2000 was a complete ground up redesign and so was assigned a new "S" number.
And where is S4 you ask? There wasn't one. Prodrive skipped it and no one has any idea why!
There have been a lot of limited edition Subaru road cars @F2CMaDMaXX . I can only recall one that was available with 555 decals from factory, which was the Version II STi. Tweaked versions of the STi were produced for each generation year from 1996 onwards, these "V-Limited" cars were produced in limited numbers, with the total available being 555 for the first few years.
There is a good guide on the JDM four door classic STi Impreza limited editions on the Impreza555 site:
There were also a similar run of V-Limited editions for the two door (Type R) Impreza's from 1996 onwards, as @KevM mentions, some of these (I think Version V and possibly Version VI STi Type R's) were produced in a limited batch size of 555 cars. There have been several V-Limited newage (2001 onwards) Imprezas and newage Imprezas were also produced in "Spec C" forms for the Japanese market, which were essentially base cars for competition use. The JDM also got the S20x range (S201, S202, S203 etc.) which continues to this day. The "S" variants are more track than rally focused though, so no rally branding there.
We got a load of Impreza special editions in the UK; the Series McRae (1995, 4 door, 200 built), Catalunya (1996, 4 door), Terzo (1997, 4 door, 333 built), 22B (1998, 2 door, 424 built, 16 official UK models), RB5 (1999, 4 door, 444 built), P1 (1999, 2 door, 1000 built), UK300 (2001, 4 door, 300 built), WR1 (2004, 4 door, 500 built) and RB320 (2007, 4 door, 320 built). None of these were available in full rally colours, but the Series McRae, Catalunya, Terzo and WR1 all included rally related decals. And of course the RB5 and RB320 were both produced in honour of Richard Burns.
555 branding cropped up quite a bit in the early JDM special editions, but wasn't as prevalent on the first newages and of course it completely disappeared from 2003 onwards.
As for the 22B, that was only ever released in blue and without decals. I have seen one stickered up (at a Prodrive meet years ago) but that was done by the owner and not the factory/dealership!